SPLIT: NQ police set for massive overhaul
A SHAKE-UP to North Queensland policing is finally on the horizon more than a year on since the state's top cop announced a massive restructure.
The Townsville Bulletin can confirm the Northern Region will finally become two on July 1, splitting up the demand on police and addressing community pressure to fix youth crime.
Northern Region Assistant Commissioner Brett Schafferius said the boundary line had been drawn up, separating the area into the Northern Region and Far Northern Region.
"It allows a greater strategic focus on these areas … and allows us to service the right police in the right place," Mr Schafferius said.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll announced the region would be split in two more than a year ago while on a visit to Townsville.
The massive area extends from Home Hill, out to the Northern Territory border to the west, down to the South Australian border and north to the tip of Queensland.
Ms Carroll said the shake-up was prompted by an internal review, which included revelations about an increase in police demand that needed to be alleviated.
It is unclear if more senior police will be needed in the new region to match current management levels, or how these roles will be divvied out.
The announcement also came at a time when Townsville was gripped by the peak of the region's crime crisis, with almost 600 break-ins and about 180 stolen cars in February last year.
Mr Schafferius, who currently runs the entire region, said it was a huge task to take on.
"The previous boundary did not allow efficient or strategic policing.
"We are now investing in that greater policing focus."
The boundary line of the new regions will run through the Cardwell Ranges and along the southern side of Croydon.
Mr Schafferius said the separation of the regions was an important task and couldn't be rushed.
"We had a project team to examine all facets of the change … externally and internally.
"The one thing we didn't want to do was rush it … but we are extremely confident in the result."
It is understood a decision on the assistant commissioner roles for both regions will be announced in the coming weeks.
At the time of the announcement last year, Ms Carroll said the split was not an admission there was too much crime to handle in North Queensland.
"I think this is saying we have to evaluate how to deliver services. It's healthy to do that," she said in February last year.
"It's a very, very simple reason - we have an extraordinary large state. Issues and challenges in southeast Queensland are very different to northern region."
The move reversed the boundary change made under former commissioner Ian Stuart in 2013 which was labelled as a "disastrous" decision by Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers.
Originally published as SPLIT: NQ police set for massive overhaul